What’s New, What’s Next

Building something is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it.

Whether you’re building a home, a family, a business, or even a website—it’s not easy. It requires perseverance, vision, dedication, comfort with risk, an amazing team, intelligence, leadership—every part of you. Once you get there, it can feel quite rewarding, but it’s not everlasting. A few days later, you’ll start asking yourself, what’s new and what are you going to do next.

What I appreciate the most about building something is the journey, even more so than the actual destination (with of course the exception of flying). I remember all of those countless late nights working on building our company—well, because I’m still living it—I never stopped burning the midnight oil and taking a day off. I noticed my kids are that way as well. It’s important to live life to the fullest—never take a day off from appreciating life or taking anything for granted. If a friend or distant relative wants to catch up, find the time. If a young entrepreneur with a start-up business wants to meet with you, talk to them—find the time. You might be retired but find something to do—never think you’re too old to start. Although it may seem that there’s not enough time to accomplish all of the things we envision ourselves doing, there actually is.

What if you cut your social media usage in half per day? Or out completely? What if you turned off the TV? What if you focused on completing one thing first and then moving on to the next project instead of trying to juggle more than 5 tasks at once? For the past several weeks, I’ve been doing this—one thing at a time and then moving on to the next task. It’s been great.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how and why people build things. Each week, it is not uncommon to hear or read of another sprawling, developing city, region, or area of the Philippines. From Batangas, to Clark, to Manila Bay, to Iloilo, Davao, and Cebu—so many parts of the Philippines are developing and flourishing. That province, that town you grew up in that you left behind decades ago—go see what it looks like now. Have you seen Binondo lately? It’s astonishing. It’s considerably clean. Did you know San Juan, La Union is heralded as the Boracay of the North? Have you seen Pasay lately?

I appreciate all of these amazing developments in the Philippines. However, I can’t help but think about how we can fix our traffic. What if we paused and the entire country’s focus was dedicated to solving the traffic once and for all. What if we just shutdown the country for say 1 month and every citizen helps build the new roads (or we just stay off the roads so that whoever can build whatever roads and highways are needed can be built). The traffic in Metro-Manila to Cebu City has really become an untenable situation. We can have these vibrant, booming cities, but if it takes hours on end to get to and from, how can we truly appreciate what people have built? How can we experience everything Metro-Manila has to offer? Did you know that on average, Filipinos lose about 16 days per year of their lives stuck in traffic? That’s awful. Not only is the country causing people to lose out on life, it’s costing the country billions of dollars in GDP. Literally, traffic is a waste of time and life. If we are wasting our lives stuck in traffic anyway then what’s the harm of pausing the country for 1 month? Think long term. Losing 1 month but not losing 16 days of our lives each year moving forward.

If we are going to build the great nation that we hope the Philippines can be, we need to say enough of this mañana mentality of—next time. It should all be about what’s next.

Roger Oriel
Roger Oriel

Roger Oriel is the Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of the Asian Journal Media Group.

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